My name is Greg Todd, and I have been a physical therapist working in outpatient orthopedics for the past 10 years. The first part of my career followed the path of most of my colleagues, in which I worked for the big players in the outpatient orthopedic rehab business. I, like most, grew frustrated with the long hours, lack of profit sharing, not being in control of my situation, and treating patients based on how my non-clinical CEOs, that had no clinical experience whatsoever, wanted me to treat.
I remember the Monday after my annual manager’s conference in October of 2004, in which I had that talk with myself that most therapists have had, that went something like this… “Why am I continuing to work for these people??? I know more about running a PT private practice than my bosses….” I finally decided that being my own boss, and doing my own thing was just way too irresistible. So, finally, after 5 years of corporate outpatient physical therapy, I decided to cut the cord, and go into private practice.
Since that time, it has been an absolutely incredible transformation in my life as a private practice owner..but it hasn’t always been easy.
I initially took the role of a self-employed physical therapist that worked for myself…. and realized that after a year or so, that there was no way I could maintain this. The long hours, sleepless nights, and the feeling of being overwhelmed by the daily grind, started to wear me down and questioned my love for the profession. I realized that I just had a job.. but I sure as hell didn’t own a business.
I realized that my thinking had to change, so I slowly started to wean my way out of just treating patient after patient, and to start treating the business as… well… a business!!!
The funny thing is that as I put less time into treating and more time into cultivating the business, things started to take shape. 60 hours went down to 50 hours… then to 40… then to 30… and now I work around 26-28 hours/week, and have a very profitable and sustainable business with many different streams of revenue using all the skills and talents of my clinical and non-clinical employees.
As PT’s, there’s a few things that we don’t have… with the main thing being any coherent business sense… and that was me just a few years ago. I don’t mean this as a shot at anyone reading this blog, but the truth is that understanding the business of outpatient physical therapy is merely an afterthought for schools, continuing education courses, etc.
But the things that we do have completely trumps all the negatives… and that is that we have an incredibly high demand product. We have an incredible combination of expertise in anatomy and movement, and we are able to use that in such an amazing way. In my opinion (biased as it may be), we are the leaders in musculoskeletal evaluation from a clinical examination aspect…but even more important, we have many answers to treating problems that people are looking for. The majority of people don’t want surgeries, they don’t want needles…but too often, our patients don’t understand what exactly physical therapy can do for them.
Someone once told me, “In many cases, too much of a good thing, can turn out to be bad thing”. I really think that holds true for many of us that are in private practice. Physical therapy has to be one of the most gratifying professions out there, but it’s very draining when you have to give so much to patients, day in and day out with no reprieve. And that really is why I felt the urge to start this blog.
I am not a motivational speaker…
I am not a business coach….
This is not a get rich quick scheme….
The truth is, having a successful PT private practice, means that you have to be a good clinician, an even better manager, and a great entrepeneur….all in one.. and I’m here to tell you that it is quite simple to do. I have done it, and I will continue to do it as long as I can. I want to help YOU do it as well.